Burying Heroes (At The Bottom Of The Story)
Sigh. This story is getting so old. But we push on.
The headline: U.S. raids Baghdad slum; 26 Iraqis die.
It could have just as easily read "U.S. soldiers repel attack, kill 26 insurgents." Or "26 terrorists" for that matter, but let's not go too crazy here. Of course to understand that take on the story, you have to bury yourself in electrons and dig down pretty deep. Let's see what I mean:
Paragraph one: We roll into the Sadr City slub and kill 26 in a firefight.
Paragraph two: 8 civilians were killed by U.S. soldiers who, according to residents, were "firing blindly on the innocent."
Paragraph three: Elsewhere two American soldiers were charged with murder, and a suicide bomber (presumably a terrorist, but who knows) killed about as many as died in Sadr City.
Paragraph four: An unnamed American soldier was killed by an IED. [Rest in peace, God bless you and comfort your loved ones.]
Paragraph five: We say the 26 dead were terrorists; unnamed and untitled Iraqi "officials" say they were citizens.
Paragraphs six and seven: Brief U.S. military account. No U.S. casualties. [Thank God.]
Paragraphs eight through ten: Unnamed eyewitnesses say U.S. soldiers acted without provocation.
Paragraph 11: Maliki's upset.
Paragraphs 12 and 13: Blah, blah, blah
Paragraphs 14 through 19: More unnamed eyewitnesses: "The bombing hurt only innocent civilians." [Um ... what bombing?]
And now, starting at paragraph 20, the military's statement. That's paragraph 20 for the one pinhead out there who still believes the media are objective and the million or so raving lunatics who feel the media are just mouthpieces for the Bush war machine.
The U.S. military statement said American troops opened fire on four civilian cars during the assault — one that failed to stop at a checkpoint, and three that insurgents were using for cover as they shot at U.S. soldiers.And there you have it. (Hardy) fair and (not even close to) balanced.
"Every structure and vehicle that the troops on the ground engaged were being used for hostile intent," [Lt. Col. Christopher] Garver said. Some of the 26 dead were in civilian cars, some had been hiding behind cars and others had fired on U.S. troops from nearby buildings, he said.